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Pinterest valued at $1.5bn in third round of funding

Pinterest valued at $1.5bn in third round of funding

Pinterest, the bookmarking site that has sped to social media stardom in the last 12 months, has just entered into its third round of funding which will see the company valued between $1bn and $1.5bn.

The company is looking to raise approximately $100m in its latest financing round. Leading the investment is Japanese e-commerce super power Rakuten, supplying $50m, reports confirm.

During its second round of investment Pinterest, which is still in invite-only beta mode, raised $38m and was valued at $200m.

The last 12 months has seen Pinterest user numbers explode  - it surpassed the 20 million milestone last month, up from 2 million users in July 2011 – due, in part, to the site’s clean interface and visual layout.

The start-up was founded in 2008 and launched in 2009, and is currently still in invite-only beta mode. During its second round of investment Pinterst raised $38m and was valued at $200m.

The site lets users compile their own online sharing boards, displaying images from the web with its “pin it” browser add-on, with customisable categories.

Teaming up with the Asian commerce giant will do well for Pinterest, whose popularity is largely based in the US and UK and has yet to turn global. Other existing investors include Andreessen Horowitz, FirstMark Capital and Bessemer Venture Partners.

Hiroshi Mikitani, CEO of Rakuten has spoken out saying he "see[s] tremendous synergies between Pinterest’s vision and Rakuten’s model for e-commerce. Rakuten looks forward to introducing Pinterest to the Japanese market as well as other markets around the world.”

Ben Silbermann, co-founder and CEO of Pinterest, responded with: “Our goal is to help people discover things they love, by connecting people through their shared interests. Bringing Rakuten on board gives us an amazing opportunity to move a step closer to this goal.”      

Analysts admit Pinterest is well-equipped to generate revenue, as already many brands are using its services to promote their wares (Sony is a brand in example). To begin with it has been keeping its business model close to its chest, driving small sums from several affiliate schemes that were shut down once exposed in the media.

Reaching this valuation milestone is a feat for a company with 35 employees that doesn’t look to be turning a profit. However the WSJ point out a number of other Silicon Valley start-ups have exceeded this post, in what has fuelled murmurs of an emerging tech bubble. Evernote, Dropbox, Airbnb and Square have all surpassed the $1bn valuation mark

AllThingsD was the first to report on the development on Wednesday, quoting sources familiar with the matter.

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